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Emergent Africa

Inspired by George Ayittey's book 'Africa Unchained'.

Updated: 2017-06-25T03:15:33.550-04:00


The Miracle City: Pentecostal Entrepreneurialism and the Remaking of Lagos


A post over at the Nsibidi Institute:
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In the extant literature on African cities and urban lifestyle, one component of Lagos’ megacity makeup is noticeably absent. This often overlooked or under-represented feature is that Lagos is truly a “Miracle City” – a city sited at the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean, with a manifest peril of being swallowed up hovering over it like the Sword of Damocles. Known for its infrastructural challenges, Lagos survives and thrives on the ingenuity, pragmatism and creativity of its more than 21 million inhabitants. For its intensely pious dwellers from a variety of religious traditions, Lagos is a city where God is alive and at work making and remaking lives, shaping and reshaping destinies. For its intensely pious dwellers from a variety of religious traditions, Lagos is a city where God is alive and at work making and remaking lives, shaping and reshaping destinies. It is not surprising then that perhaps the single most popular, most pervasive product of Lagos is miracle. The miraculous is at the heart of Nigerian Pentecostalism, and Lagos, more than any other city in Africa, merits the title of being the global capital of Pentecostalism...[more]

In Our Backyard with Jeremiah Quarshie


From ArtX Lagos:
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ART X Lagos - The 2016 Art Fair


From Artx Lagos
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Pondering Freedom Of Expression In 21st Century Africa


From the Arterial Network:
A Review by Tade Ipadeola of How Free is Free? A Reflection on Freedom of Creative Expression in Africa
“…every free expression of life indirectly threatens the post-totalitarian system politically, including forms of expression to which, in other social systems, no one would attribute any potential political significance, not to mention explosive power.” – Vaclav Havel, The Power of the Powerless

Africa is home to thousands of musicians, cartoonists, writers, satirists, spoken word artists and sundry creative professionals. Her massive human population has known repressive regimes for most of the last two centuries. These restrictive social and legal orders, which are only beginning to weaken and loosen up in the 21st century have not done so of their own volition.
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Britain’s first coding school for refugees is an inspiration


Kitty Knowles writing in the memo

Mapping the Flow of International Trade


From Max Galka's Metrocosm
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Africa’s Race Against the Machines


Brahima Sangafowa Coulibaly writing in Brookings:
...automation poses a very real threat to jobs in developing economies, too. In Africa, in particular, a burgeoning cohort of young people – 11 million entering the job market every year – is compounding the threat. Without careful policy planning, the continent’s anticipated demographic windfall could turn out to be a ticking time bomb.

As the costs of automation fall relative to manufacturing wages, and as global industrial production becomes less labor-intensive, Africa will lose some of the advantages that it is currently counting on. In the future, it may not be able attract manufacturers who are seeking to capitalize on abundant, low-cost labor. Many in the region are now worried that they will reap little from this fleeting period of industrialization, and that current demographic, social, and economic trends could lead to security and humanitarian crises in the future.
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Equatorial Guinea President Obiang's son (and VP) faces criminal prosecution in Paris for corruption


Over at Open Society Shirley Pouget reports:
It took ten years to reach this point, but finally on Monday, June 19, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, vice president of Equatorial Guinea and son of the country's president, Teodoro Obiang, will face trial before a criminal court in Paris, on charges of money laundering and diversion of public funds...[more]

German breeders develop ‘open-source’ plant seeds #opensource


Lucas Laursen writing in Science:
There's open-source software, open-source pharma research, and open-source beer. Now, there are open-source seeds, too. Breeders from Göttingen University in Germany and Dottenfelderhof agricultural school in Bad Vilbel, Germany, have released tomato and wheat varieties under an open-source license. Their move follows similar schemes for sharing plant material in India and the United States, but is the first that provides legal protection for the open-source status of future descendants of plant varieties...[more]

A Place for the Stateless: Can a Startup City Solve the Refugee Crisis?


Mark Lutter writing in 2015:
The key here is institutional autonomy, the ability to have a set of laws different from the country from which the land is bought. Whether it is the creation of a new nation, as Buzi wants, or merely a new system in an existing country, such as Hong Kong, is less important. What matters is for the refugees to have an opportunity to create wealth and improve their well-being, rather than being dependent on aid.
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Art and architecture that disrupts urban spaces - Olalekan Jeyifous


Olalekan Jeyifous at TED Ideas search:
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Programming a new reality


Neil Gershenfeld at TEDxCern:
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Billions In Investment But No Jobs


Chris Bishop reporting for Forbes Africa:
In Brussels, the airy, elegant, European capital built by King Leopold on riches from the minerals and rubber of the Democratic Republic of Congo, there was a glimmer of hope for Africa.

At the EU-Africa Business Forum, the European Union (EU) threw its weight behind a new push for investment, along with private companies in Europe, into the emerging economies of Africa. It could mean jobs and a new generation of entrepreneurs. The plan is to concentrate the money on dynamic small and medium enterprises, by easing private investment into the continent...[more]

Africa's Growing Youth Population


A conversation with Ronak Gopaldas:
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Africa's Growing Youth Population - Ronak Gopaldas by PrinceTrae

Agriculture: Africa's solution for youth unemployment


CNBC in conversation with the founder of Agricolleges International:
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Gullele Botanic Garden, Ethiopia


Elias Gebreselaassie writing in Pacific Standard:
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When Ethiopia's first botanic garden was established six years ago, few Ethiopians knew of country's flora heritage.

But with agro-ecological zones ranging from 125 meters below sea level to about 5,000 meters above sea level, the country boasts one of the richest flora heritages in Africa, according to Birhanu Belay, research department coordinator at Gullele Botanic Garden.

The GBG is situated on 70 hectares of land along the northwest outskirts of Addis Ababa, a joint venture of Addis Ababa University and the city of Addis Ababa. The garden is used for research, education, eco-tourism, and conservation, and currently hosts 780 of the country's estimated 6,500 plant species...[more]

Fin - the secret Facebook group of Nigerian women


A report from the BBC

#Ghana is safe and stable, but its young people are still risking their lives to cross to Europe


Brennan Weiss writing in Quartz:
Kwesi Sampson made his first illegal trek across the Sahara desert nearly a decade ago in hopes of reaching Europe. He didn’t make it...[more]

Dabiri-Erewa urges Nigerians to buy into $300m Diaspora Bond #Nigeria


Business Day reports:
Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora has urged all Nigerians to take advantage of the first ever Diaspora offer by buying into the bond.

The Debt Management Office (DMO) had announced the commencement of a global offering of Nigeria’s first Diaspora Bond by filing a registration statement for the bonds with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
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For further reading, from the LSE: The Potential of Diaspora Bonds in Africa

The origin and development of farming in Lejja, southeastern Nigeria


In the archeological space:
Chioma Ngonadi, a PhD candidate in the Division of Archaeology, University of Cambridge has made a film of her recent fieldwork and outreach activities in Lejja, SE Nigeria. Chioma's research aims to identify the earliest evidence for agricultural production in Lejja. This area is well known for its iron-working remains (dating to c. 3000 BC), but previous archaeological research here has mainly focused on the smelting sites from a technological or symbolic perspective. Chioma is aiming to analyse the relationship between the iron working sites and the development or introduction of agriculture.
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What Israel can teach India (and #Africa) about developing an innovation culture


In the Jerusalem Post:
The India-based "Swarajya" Magazine recommends its readers take a page of the Israeli book on forming a start-up friendly environment.

Israel seems like the quintessential underdog. Its land area is a puny 22,145 sq km. Even the exclusive economic zone in the Mediterranean Sea, which washes the state’s shores at its north-west, is double the country’s land area. Israel also does not have much to cheer about with respect to natural resources. Yet, despite its small size and lack of abundant natural resources, Israel has thrived for nearly seven decades of its existence. While military might comes to the mind of many who ponder how Israel has not just survived but prospered in the face of grave geopolitical adversity, what is perhaps lesser known and has only come to light in the past decade is Israel’s exceptional culture of innovation and how that has propelled the country’s fortunes.
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Meet Alumni from the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences


NextEinstein reports:
AIMS is proud to have produced 1 210 graduates, 31% of whom are women. Our alumni represent 42 countries, and are serving as leaders in academia and industry. Recent graduates serve as statisticians for the Zambian Energy Regulations Board, system engineers for Namibian consulting firms and epidemiology researchers in South Africa...[more]

Could Professional Sports Boost Economic Development in Africa?


Rakotomalala writing in Global Voices:
Luol Deng is a rich and famous professional basketball player who has played for some of the most well-known NBA teams, such as the Chicago Bulls, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Miami Heat.

Deng also hails from Wau, South Sudan, a country scarred by poverty and the aftermath of a recent civil war. He has figured prominently in efforts to reduce conflict and advance the peace process in his native country through an NGO called Enough Project. In addition, he has facilitated the construction of 12 basketball courts and locker rooms in South Sudan...[more]

Why Dumb Networks Are Better


Andreas M. Antonopoulos writes:
In computer and communications networks, decentralization leads to faster innovation, greater openness, and lower cost. Decentralization creates the conditions for competition and diversity in the services the network provides.
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‘Western influence damaging African graduates’


Charles Dhewa writing in the Standard:
“Our young people are running away from Africa while the Chinese and Europeans are running to Africa. It means we are not equipping our youths with the right skills to see what those coming to Africa are seeing.”- Fanuel Tagwira
There is a strong view that youths are shunning agriculture because they associate it with production only yet there are many opportunities along the value chain, for instance, logistics, packaging and agro-processing.

While African countries are known for selling raw commodities, there are opportunities for young people to embark on value addition enterprises.
More here